Love Your Students!

Nephi teacher delights in guiding her students to always reach higher

Merrilee Hoaldridge is a fifth grade teacher at Nebo View Elementary School in Nephi in the Juab School District.

She has been teaching for 13 years and three of my children have had the privilege of learning from Merrilee. After my daughter, Nan, had her as a teacher I knew I had to request her for my younger children coming up. The amount of time and energy she took helping my daughter learn to study and work hard and believe in herself was something I knew would stick with her forever.

When my daughter, Stephanie, made it up the ranks, the third of my children to have Ms. Hoaldridge, I was grateful for the time Merrilee spent with my little girl helping her to overcome her shyness and help her to develop skills in reading and writing that Stephanie had always struggled with.

Stephanie grew the confidence that no matter what she struggled in she could learn to do hard things. Merrilee also helped her to recognize that although she had to work extra hard with her reading skills, she was a brilliant little mathematician and encouraged her to help those around her, giving her the confidence to recognize her strengths and share them with others.

It’s been many years since Stephanie had Ms. Hoaldrige for an elementary school teacher, but even today as she works hard as a junior in high school and struggles through all the challenges that the COVID virus has caused in the schools, Stephanie still has the confidence to do hard things and help those around her when she can.

Merrilee says she has always wanted to be a teacher ever since she was a little girl. She used to play “School” with her dolls, and they were her students. She enjoys learning herself and enjoys teaching others, especially kids. And she hopes that all of her students know that she loves and cares about them. 

Merrilee said that one of the most valuable things she has learned this year is that her and her students can do hard things. Her favorite part of the school day is science, and one of the hardest things about teaching during COVID-19 is not being able to see the students’ entire face, especially their smiles.

I asked her what advice she would give a new teacher starting out and she said, “Love the students and have high expectations for them. Also, be organized and have good classroom management.”

In regards to what advice she could give parents to helping their children in school she replied, “Ask them questions about what they are learning in school, and read to them often, even when they are older.”

Merrilee Hoaldridge is a true example of someone who loves her students, goes the extra mile to help them feel loved and important, and teaches them that they can do hard things. Those examples stick with her students even into their high school careers when they most need that confidence to do hard things.

If you have a teacher, like Merrilee, that has helped influence and shape you or your children whom you would like us to spotlight, give us a request with their name and school at here angiscreations! (Gibson is a Serve Daily contributor.)

Angi Gibson
Angi Gibson
Angi grew up on a small sheep farm in Central Utah and currently lives in the foothills of a growing town in Northern Utah County. She is a wife, mother to six and grandmother to four active boys. Along with her husband, Jason, they run a busy family business chasing from one end of the state to the other. Angi loves writing, gardening, and finding gratitude moments in everything.

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